Summer Reading, part three: Quiet by Susan Cain

July 23, 2014 by Bill Ivey

Last year at registration, as I met my new students and their families, I heard over and over, “She’ll be quiet in class but don’t let that fool you - she’s a deep thinker.” As someone who had myself been quiet in class as a student, I completely understood that silence does not mean absence of thought. However, by lunchtime, I’ll confess I was beginning to wonder just who would speak up in class - or, more to the point, how I would manage the class so that everyone was contributing if introversion was such a dominant dynamic. I ended up using a greater percentage of small group work for certain kinds of discussions than I might in a typical year, and things went well - indeed, this class achieved an extraordinary and deeply moving level of trust and honesty by the end of the year, and also helped cement and expand our reputation as a feminist school.

So when Sally, our Head of School, announced that this year’s summer reading book would be Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, I had high hopes. Yet, beginning right from page one where I highlighted the question, “How could you be shy and courageous?” and noted, “These are not mutually exclusive by any stretch of the imagination,” I developed a complicated relationship with the book. Nonetheless, I definitely found take-aways that can help me in my work, and of course I look forward to discussing it when teachers return in August.

Filed Under: gender, introversion, Quiet, diversity, Feminism, In the Classroom, The Faculty Perspective

Summer Reading, part one

June 26, 2014 by Bill Ivey

Ah, summer. That magical time when teachers get to sit by the pool sipping drinks in tall glasses filled to the brim with ice and muse on…

… all the things they want to do differently next year.

Filed Under: Teaching, Grades 7-12, On Education, Ariel Sacks, Whole Novels for the Whole Class, Reading, The Faculty Perspective, Education

Threshold

May 27, 2014 by Bill Ivey

Last Monday, my Humanities 7 class seemed tired. Many of them had gone on the Boston Harbor cruise the night before at the invitation of Cardigan Mountain School, and had gotten back late. Others seemed to be having a post-weekend drop in energy (to be fair, it was 8:00 in the morning). Others, I’m sure, were fine, but (ironically) they were quieter about it than those who were tired.

So, we spent extra time on Morning Announcements, taking all their questions about the upcoming three weeks and the many special events, ensuring they felt they had as good a sense as possible of what was coming up. We moved on to Morning Reading, with Olivia reading Julia’s short story for her and Emily reading her own poems. I had earlier decided to extend Morning Reading if need be by including an installment from Wonder, the book the students had chosen for their unit on “judging” and in which we had just read the climax. The next section of the book involved preparations for fifth and sixth grade graduation, and the resonance in the room with what these students were thinking and feeling was strong.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective

Seriously? Seriously.

April 28, 2014 by Bill Ivey

Maybe it’s because I was on vacation, but the news that “there’s even a gender wage gap in babysitting” (Maya) saddened me but didn’t outrage me. I suppose it’s also because it was simply too easy to assimilate it into my existing body of knowledge: how women right out of college earn less than men, how men earn more than women even in so-called “feminized” professions, how the gender wage gap exists not just at a national level but also within all racial groups (granting that white women earn more than men of some other racial groups), how… how? How? HOW?!

Today, at any rate, school is in session, and I was beyond outraged to learn there is a gender wage gap in allowances.

Filed Under: Grades 7-12 and PG, gender, gender stereotypes, anti-racism, social justice, Parenting, Feminism, The Faculty Perspective, Current Events

National Volunteer Month, 2014

April 24, 2014 by Bill Ivey
  1. Why did you begin volunteering
  2. What impact do you feel your volunteer work has on your life?
  3. What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
  4. What would you say to encourage others who are considering volunteering?

Filed Under: On Education, social justice, community, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Education

Hashtag Bracketology

April 07, 2014 by Bill Ivey

Editor's note: This was written on April 3rd before this past weekend's Final Four games.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, On Education, anti-racism, social justice, The Faculty Perspective, Education

Truly Blessed

March 18, 2014 by Bill Ivey

Before Spring Break, Sophie, one of the 8th graders asked me if I had liked the play she had helped write in 7th grade. “Refresh my memory,” I said, and she responded with a twinkle in her eye, “Cross-dressing old man?” It all came rushing back to me. “Oh, yes,” I said. I remember your play was really solid when you took it from my class to the Theatre 7 class, and then it still went through several revisions. In fact, I knew about a lot of the revisions, and I was still surprised during the performance! But it was solid all the way through. People loved it.” And then, with a sideways glance at the 7th grader who was sitting right there, “People always look forward to the 7th grade plays.” Sophie said, “That’s right! All the former 7th graders come,” and I added, “And not just former 7th graders. People who were never in the middle school tell me they look forward to the 7th grade plays.” “It’s a rite of passage for 7th grade,” Sophie commented as the younger girl took it all in.

It takes an incredible amount of courage to put your voice out there not only as the performer of a play but also as the author, especially when you are actually a co-author with up to four other people who are just as creative and passionate as you are and have equally strong opinions about every word. That day was going to be the first time the Humanities 7 class read their scripts to Julia and Kim, who will be co-directing the plays this spring, and that, too, takes a great deal of courage. Julia and Kim were both excited to learn about all the possibilities that the plays provided, and they also both had a number of insightful suggestions.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, On Education, community, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education

SBMS 10th Anniversary: Blast From The Past - "A Sense of the Possible"

October 07, 2013 by Bill Ivey

It was ten years ago this month that a group of faculty, staff, and administrators first gathered in the office of former Head of School Martha Shepardson-Killam to discuss the possibility of starting up a middle school program at Stoneleigh-Burnham School and begin to work through how best to proceed. Many of us in the room had worked with middle school students in the past, and enthusiasm for the idea was high. Once we secured Trustee approval, we agreed to announce the new middle school in January of 2004 and open in September of 2005. However, upon learning what we were doing, many local parents asked if we couldn't find it in our hearts to open earlier, and we responded by deciding to open a Founders' Program for day students only in September, 2004, and then expand to include a boarding component in September, 2005.

Filed Under: Middle School, On Education, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Middle Level Education

Living The Kite Runner

September 19, 2013 by Guest Faculty Bloggers

Standing in line for food during Formal Dinner last week, I was approached by a new student, "S." '14 (her name has been withheld to protect her anonymity), whom I’d only known from house parenting duties. She told me, in her quiet manner, that my 11th graders’ English summer reading book, The Kite Runner, is her favorite novel. She continued by telling me that she is a Hazara, of the same tribe as Hassan, one of the significant characters in The Kite Runner, and that she has experienced similar discrimination growing up in Afghanistan as he has in the novel. As IB learners I thought that the girls would benefit from meeting "S." and hearing her story, as it relates to The Kite Runner, and I asked her if she would be interested in talking to both of my classes. "S." graciously, and without any hesitation, accepted my invitation.

"S." had prepared a Power Point presentation in advance and she began by giving us a brief history of Afghanistan and telling us about her family. She then proceeded by relating her experiences growing up in Afghanistan to The Kite Runner. The thing that struck me the most was that "S." at such a young age was able to talk about her difficult experiences with such clarity and in such an unblemished manner. She has already gained perspective and made sense of her country’s violent history and the effect it has had, and still has, on her family and her people. "S." has decided not to let her experience bring her down; instead she has been able to turn it into something positive. She told the class about her volunteer work at the same orphanage in which one of the characters in The Kite Runner grew up. She and her sisters have had the rare opportunity to pursue an education and "S." is a courageous and passionate advocate for girls’ education and women’s rights. At a very young age she has her goals set and is determined to make a change in the world.

Filed Under: afghanistan, girls' education, IB, In the Classroom, The Kite Runner, The Faculty Perspective, International Baccalaureate, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School

A Moment of Peace

May 22, 2013 by Bill Ivey

132 - Kristin. 134 - Kim and Francie. 136 - Donna and Jenny. 138 - Amanda and Hillary. And so on.

Filed Under: Middle School, Alumnae, Houseparenting, Bill Ivey, Beautifully different, community, Boarding School, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School